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2j8             A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
out of his long experience, to define its precise nature, he could or would only say:
**It is only by the power of Allah that a snake yields to us. The snakes trust us as we are forbidden to kill them by our own hand. We do not betray their trust. So our invocations always contain some words from the holy Quran"
I am betraying no secrets if I give here the incantation which is used by the Rifa-ee Dervishes, into whose order I was initiated, because this call is the one publicly chanted, and has no doubt been heard, in its original sonorous and poetic Arabic form, by hundreds of uninitiated persons.
So far as mere expression of thought bears weight, I see no reason why the English translation should not be equally effective; although the incantation alone is hardly likely to induce a snake to emerge from its hiding place, or to place its flat head in any one's lap! The words run as follows:
"Q thou snake! Come forth! I adjure thee by Allah, if thou art above or if thou art below, that ye come forth!
<cNoae can conquer Allah, and over Him none can prevail. Ol my helper in die time of need! In the name of the Holy Place and die Holy Book, I adjure thee to come forth!
**%& the name of Him whose splendour has thrown open all doors, come out and submit to the covenant. I am the owner of the Word.
**ln the Most Great Name of the Master of all help. I call on thee, by permission of my Sheikh and of the Master of my fraternity, Ahmad el Rifa-ee. Come forth!
"In the name of Solomon die Wise, who holds dominion ovet all reptiles. Hear! Allah orderedi thee. Come forth, O snake! Come forth! Peace be on thee. I shall harm thee not."
After I parted from Sheikh Moussa, I could not help reoir-rentiy thinking that underneath the doctrines and practices of the Rifa-ee Dervishes there lay a remnant of some ancient serpent-worshipping cult, that went back, perhaps, to immeasurable antiquity. I knew that Moussa—good Muhammedan that he was—would strenuously deny this; indeed, I did once tackle him on the point, but he deflected the question with the response diat there was no God but Allah! The more I pressed the